The development team at CW Sonderoptic GmbH has been honored with the Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the prestigious film industry accolade for technical products and innovations, for the Leica Summilux-C (Cine) lenses.


The Academy presented the Academy Plaque to Iain Neil (optical design) and André de Winter (mechanical design) in Los Angeles in the course of a gala evening at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. With the Science and Technology Awards, the Academy honors individuals and companies whose inventions and innovations make a significant and lasting contribution to the further development of the motion picture industry. Every year the Academy presents the awards two weeks before the Oscars are awarded for the best movies, best actors and actresses, best directors, and best camera.

The development of the Leica Summilux-C lenses fulfills a long-standing dream of numerous camera operators and creative cinematographers around the globe: the transfer of the extraordinary image qualities of Leica photography to the medium of motion pictures, enabling cinematographers to open up new creative dimensions. The Leica Summilux-C lenses are designed and constructed by CW Sonderoptic GmbH in Wetzlar, Germany, an affiliate of Leica Camera AG. The long-standing partnership between the two companies enables intensive exchange of experience, technical expertise, and manufacturing methods that guarantee the imaging performance and characteristics for which Leica lenses are renowned.

The Leica Cine lenses set entirely new standards and have since become invaluable assets in the movie industry. Leica lenses were used in the filming of numerous major feature film productions over the last three years, including movies like Birdman, The Theory of Everything, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Gone Girl, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Prominent cameramen around the globe appreciate the technical and creative properties of the Leica Cine lenses – for instance, the consistently high illumination across the frame for all focal lengths and the linear focusing scales that make camera work on the set much easier. Their superior imaging qualities, compact dimensions, and low weight make them particularly versatile and mobile. This picture is supplemented by dazzling contrast rendition, extremely low chromatic aberration, and smooth transitions between planes of focus.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, chairman of the supervisory board at Leica Camera AG and owner of CW Sonderoptic GmbH: “We have succeeded in transferring the virtually iconic reputation of the Leica brand from photography to cinematography. This accolade awarded to us by the Academy proves once again that lenses from Wetzlar are among the best in the world when it comes to high quality, optical and mechanical excellence, and superior imaging performance.”

Gerhard Baier and Erik Feichtinger, co-managing directors at CW Sonderoptic GmbH, agree: “For moviemakers, Leica lenses for cinematography have been an unfulfilled dream for many years. But now we have succeeded in making this dream come true thanks to the enormous efforts, unique achievements, and the sheer passion of the globally active team from Leica Camera AG and CW Sonderoptic GmbH. The emotive and technical brilliance of our lenses has stood the test in numerous motion picture productions. For us, it is a great honor that the Academy has rewarded our efforts with this award.”

Jeff Cronenweth, ASC, Cinematographer on Gone Girl:
“We chose the Leica Summilux-C lenses for Gone Girl because, unlike other choices, the Summilux-C’s have this amazing ability to maintain extreme resolution while still understanding and considering the complexity of the human face. The fact that they are able to maintain the same small profile throughout the range of focal lengths further removes the filmmaker from any complications created by invasive footprints.”

Michael Seresin, BSC, Cinematographer on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:
“The Leica Summilux-C lenses that I used on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are the most rigorous and true lenses I have worked with. In the world of digital cinematography they retain a unique cinematic and emotional quality, similar to the Leica photography lenses I use, which is essential for me and the films I work on.”

For more: Leica and CW Sonderoptic.

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